Mid-Missouri, U.S. golf market hitting a wall

5 years 1 month 6 days ago Tuesday, June 02 2015 Jun 2, 2015 Tuesday, June 02, 2015 2:15:00 PM CDT June 02, 2015 in News
By: Jeremy Schrank, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - When it comes to golf, there are a lot of choices that need to be made. 

What club to use, where to aim, or how hard to hit the ball are questions that routinely come up on the course. Maybe the toughest decision, however, comes before all of that: where to play?

PGA Head Golf Professional at A.L. Gustin Golf Course Jim Knoesel said the boom of one popular golfer contributed to the mass increase in courses. 

"After Tiger Woods came on the scene in the late '90s, early 2000s, golf experienced a big upswing in players, you know an economic boom for the sport," he said. "There were corresponding increases in the supply of holes. The number of courses increased and it worked out great for four, five, six years, but then the players started decreasing again and you then you were left with the over-supply of golf courses." 

More golf courses closed than opened in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

But Knoesel said there are 13 courses, three private and 10 public, within a 30 minutes drive of Mizzou's Jesse Hall.

"At least in mid-Missouri, there's too many golf courses, there's too many holes, there's too much inventory," he said.

On top of that, the interest level to play has been decreasing. According to the National Golf Foundation, the golf industry lost about 400,000 players last year. 

Knoesel and Travis McCubbin, General Manager at the Club at Old Hawthrone, say it's been a struggle to continue to be profitable and the time and expenses that go into golf turn people away. 

"There are a lot of other sports where you buy shoes and you buy a ball and immediately you can start to play. Golf is much more than that," McCubbin said.

Participation among those aged 18-34 fell about 13% between 2009 and 2013 to 6.5 million, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. To combat this, Knoesel said he and other clubs are focusing on teaching and growing youth golfers.

"We're really investing a lot of our time and energy trying to grow the game with the next generation," he said. "The problem with that is you have a lag time. You know, you have a 10-15 year lag time before the people you're introducing golf to turn into fee paying golfers."

But McCubbin said he thinks the work will pay off. 

"Usually, people who play young, they continue to play," he said. "Very rarely do they put it down and stop playing."

It's not just the golf courses who are having issues however. Even the producers of golf equipment have felt the pain.

"There's only so much they can do with drivers now, there's only so much they can do with irons," Knoesel said. "It's become really difficult for the companies, TaylorMade, Titlist, Callaway, they're trying to innovate, except there's not much left to do."

TaylorMade Golf, the world's biggest maker of golf clubs and clothes, saw sales nosedive 28 percent last year, according to its parent company Addidas.

McCubbin said people are more aware now that new clubs aren't necessarily better.

"A set of irons from this year is probably not any better than a set of irons from two years ago. They just can't improve them that much. They might look a little better, they might look a little different," he said. "But for the most part it's not going to be a major improvement to someone's game."

For now, Knoesel said all he can do is continue to try and entice players and wait out the decline.

"The knee-jerk reaction of golf businesses is to lower prices, but I don't think it's prices that are keeping people from playing," he said. "You can play 18 holes with a cart for 35-40 bucks on a weekend. I mean people spend $25 to get their haircut for five minutes."

As for the future, McCubbin said he believes golf clubs in central Missouri won't be closing due to the growing community in and around Columbia as long as more aren't built.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri addressed international students via email in regards to the guidelines enforced by the Department... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 5:01:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 5:00:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- University of Missouri Police Department officers arrested Columbia man Ian M. Laird, 20, for sidewalk vandalism near the Thomas... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 4:24:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Citing "severe staffing shortages," the City of Columbia suspended all curbside recycling pickup effective Wednesday. In a... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 4:19:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —Businesses across mid-Missouri received millions in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a coronavirus relief program aimed at... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 4:06:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — South Callaway School District superintendent Kevin Hillman announced on Wednesday plans for the upcoming semester. As of... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 3:44:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The 2020 Show-Me State Games have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The games have been... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 3:15:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Today is the last day to register for voting in the August 4 primary election in Boone County.... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Hey sleepyheads -- have you been turning off or covering up all your smartphone and computer lights in... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 12:31:24 PM CDT July 08, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - The University of Missouri System will introduce a plan Wednesday to bring high-speed, affordable broadband internet... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:45:22 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - The Boone County Commission has no plans to follow Columbia’s lead and impose a countywide mask... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:41:19 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - Registered voters in Missouri will be able to vote absentee, by mail or in person with... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:36:24 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:16:00 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
HOWARD COUNTY - On Wednesday, the missing girl was found safe. An endangered person advisory was issued in Howard... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 5:06:00 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
COOPER COUNTY - A man from Gravois Mills was killed Tuesday afternoon in a crash on Route B, north of... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 10:37:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - At the entrance to the playground at Cosmo Park in Columbia, you'll find a brightly colored message waiting... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:28:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia Public School District gave parents and students the option of attending in-person classes, or attending online classes... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:27:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
CORINTH, Miss. (AP) — A Missouri man suspected in a Tennessee kidnapping was found during a traffic stop in Mississippi.... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:01:42 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 88°
9pm 84°
10pm 82°
11pm 80°
12am 78°